Everything you need to know about the curfew in the Netherlands
A national curfew has been announced in order to combat the spread of coronavirus in the Netherlands. This is your guide to everything you need to know about the curfew.
Everything you need to know about the curfew
Here's everything you need to know about the coronavirus curfew in the Netherlands.
When is it?
The curfew will be in effect from 9pm on January 23 until (at least) 4.30am on April 20. During these hours, members of the public will be expected to stay at home.
What is the point of it?
The Dutch government hopes that implementing a curfew will (significantly) reduce the number of social gatherings. The Outbreak Management Team said it would be particularly effective in preventing young people from attending / holding parties or meeting one another on the streets. Acting Prime Minister Mark Rutte hopes it will stop people from visiting the homes of family members and friends.
By limiting social gatherings, experts hope the curfew will delay the third wave of coronavirus, thereby reducing the pressure on the Dutch healthcare system.
Are there exceptions to the curfew?
There are a handful of exceptions to the curfew. They are:
- Going to work (i.e. police officers, paramedics, nurses, etc)
- A (medical) emergency
- Assisting someone in need
- Walking a dog
- Necessary travel to leave / return to the Netherlands
- Travelling to / from a funeral
- Travelling to / from court
- Homeless people who do not want to make use of the accommodation available to them
- Attending a live evening TV programme as a guest
If you need to be outside during curfew hours, you will be expected to carry a “self-declaration curfew" form. If you are outside for work, you must also carry a statement from your employer which can be used as evidence. If you are self-employed, you can fill in your own statement. If you’re taking the dog out for a walk during curfew hours, you must go out alone and the dog must be on a leash. If you are to appear as a guest on an evening TV show, you must have and be able to present an invitation.
What can you do during the curfew?
The curfew means that all shops and supermarkets will have to be closed by 8:45pm - some will likely close at 8.15pm in order to allow staff enough time to close up and get home. The curfew will also mean that any restaurants or cafes will have to close their pick-up points by 9pm.
Any restaurants that offer home-delivery will still be able to deliver past 9pm (as long as their delivery riders carry the necessary forms).
Public transport will also remain operational for anyone who has to make a necessary journey. The chairman of Public Transport Netherlands (OV-NL), Pedro Peters, asked all members of the public to comply with government measures, but said that public transport will not be checking to make sure if a traveller's journey is necessary: "The responsibility for determining whether or not a trip is necessary rests with the traveller. This also applies when curfews have started."
Professional sportspeople also fall under the curfew exceptions, and so don't worry, there will still be football matches to watch at night.
What happens if you break curfew?
Anyone outside of their homes without a valid reason within this time frame will receive a fine of 95 euros, but the violation will not appear on their criminal record.
Chief of the Dutch Police, Henk van Essen, has said that the police will no longer be issuing warnings to people who willfully violate the coronavirus measures: "If you violate the rules willfully, you will be fined... We are expected to enforce firmly, and we will do everything we can to make that happen," he said on January 21 on the TV show Op1. The responsibility of enforcing the curfew ultimately lies with Dutch mayors and their local police and community service officers (BOAs).
Coronavirus measures in the Netherlands
The curfew isn't the only new coronavirus measure which comes into effect from January 23. The Dutch government has also announced further travel restrictions which come into effect on January 23 and will remain in place until at least February 22.
On January 20, Rutte also announced a tightening of the existing home visit rules: from January 20, a household may receive a maximum of one guest per day. The government has also limited the number of people that can be present at a funeral. From January 25, instead of 100 people, a maximum of 50 people can be in attendance.
All these new measures will remain in place alongside the existing measures.